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How to keep up with technology

January 30, 2018

Your business has to adapt to new gadgets, new apps, new programs, and new jargon. You need to deal with constantly changing methods of connecting with people and presenting information.

The impact of this constant change is not just in IT, but is felt across the board in HR, accounts and sales. Even the garage mechanic needs to understand what could be wrong with a dozen computers humming under the bonnet. It’s easy to feel like you’re always running to keep up.

Back in 2015, a Robert Half Management Resources survey revealed that keeping up with technological advancements is the greatest source of pressure for the accounting profession. The same challenge affects every business.

Over 2,200 chief financial officers (CFOs) were surveyed. A whopping 41 percent said staying current with changing technology is the greatest pressure facing their accounting and finance teams. Meeting regulatory compliance mandates followed at 24 percent.

What can business owners do to mitigate the risks and maximise the rewards associated with rapid changes in technology? Jeff Drew, senior editor for The Journal of Accountancy, has these five tips:

Hire staff with a strong aptitude for technology

This doesn’t necessarily mean a computing degree. Many techy types like keeping up and exploring what’s new and how it works. These people can be good for your business.

Interact with trusted technology experts, either in-house IT staff or outside consultants

Business owners must understand what technologies really do—if not as a user, then certainly how the technology affects the business overall. It’s also good to learn about other technologies so you know what options are out there.

Attend conferences featuring sessions on current and emerging technologies  

Explore what seminars/webinars may be offered to give you at least a rough overall knowledge of what technologies match your company’s needs.

Set up RSS feeds with specific technologies as keywords

This is particularly effective with industry-specific software. Some RSS feeds deliver daily or weekly updates on software that you already use. This need not be a time waster; a quick skim will tell you if you need to read further.

Join and become active in relevant technology user groups

These groups discuss problems and solutions with specific technologies. You can pose specific questions to the forum and often receive answers very quickly from peers who have already met the same issues.

And, perhaps more important than all the above, know what your company’s tech needs are. Stay informed about any developments specific to your field, and determine the impact on your bottom line.

In many cases, it’s not a matter of whether to update, but a matter of deciding when to update. Remember that outdated technology can drain resources and morale, not to mention leave you flailing in your competitor’s wake.

The most effective business owners are not concerned that innovations keep accelerating away from them. They are able to harness rapid technological change and see it as a tool for their advantage, rather than an obstacle.

 

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